The first impact of war on the Ashbourne Telegraph was apparent in this, the second edition since the Government’s declaration of war. The papers masthead previously carried the boast: 8 pages 1d. The pagination was cut to six pages, although the price remained the same.
A statement from the publishers explained that because the raw material for newsprint (the paper on which newspapers are printed) was imported and steps were being taken to preserve stocks.
Readers picking up their thinner paper on August 14 would have found that the latest installment in the serialized novel Double Chance was still to be found, as was the Wild Flower column. My Sketchbook, however, was among the first victims.
Telegrams from the Central News Agency were published in the columns of the Ashbourne Telegraph to ensure readers were up to speed with developments on the continent. This week it was announced the French fleet was attacking a German naval base; Danish steamers were heading for England with agricultural produce; German forces were bombarding Pontamousson (sic) with heavy artillery; while Belgian forces were engaged in fierce ecounter with German cavalry, infantry and artillery near Brussels.
Elsewhere the Telegraph carried a list of families with husbands and sons in the regular army and new postings.
And sacrifices were being made across the piece. It was reported: “The Hon. Mrs Bourke of Wooton Hall has lent her motor car to the War Office.”
A previously unforeseen impact of the war was recorded by the Telegraph: “The hunting field will be seriously depleted owing to the call to arms of the followers of the Meynells, there are two Generals, half a dozen Colonels, a score of Captains and many majors and Lieutenants.”
Although not of the officer classes, the Ashbourne National Reserve’s 150 members met in the town and 11 men immediately volunteered for service overseas, with the remaining 139 prepared to act in Home Defence roles.